Coronavirus

Joe Biden Says the Pandemic Is Over — But Is It in Colorado?

President Joe Biden during an appearance on  on September 18.
President Joe Biden during an appearance on on September 18. CBS via YouTube
President Joe Biden received significant blowback after he declared that "the pandemic is over" during an interview for CBS's 60 Minutes broadcast on September 18.

Granted, Biden's pronouncement wasn't as premature as Governor Jared Polis's decision to rescind all Colorado health-emergency executive edicts in July 2021 — but as noted by the New York Times on September 19, between 400 and 500 people are still dying from COVID-19 every day in the United States. University of Minnesota infectious-disease specialist Dr. Michael T. Osterholm stressed to the Times that the disease is "the number-four cause of death in the country," and spread remains rampant. "We’ve had two million cases reported over the last 28 days," he noted, "and we know underreporting is substantial."

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment acknowledges that because of home testing, statistics about new infections and positivity rates have become less reliable — and findings from wastewater surveillance shows that the virus is still circulating virtually everywhere in the state. But even incomplete figures indicate that COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact here, albeit at a much lower, far more manageable level than when the crisis was at its apex.

Here are the latest numbers from the CDPHE in major categories, updated after 4 p.m. September 21. They're juxtaposed with data from our previous COVID-19 roundup, which drew from September 14 stats.

1,647,452 cases (up 4,960 from September 14)
68,586 hospitalized (up 216 from September 14)
13,253 deaths among cases (up 23 from September 14)
13,966 deaths due to COVID-19 (up 30 from September 14)
9,738 outbreaks (up 10 from September 14)

Four takeaways:

• The new-case count of 4,960 for the week ending September 21 is up slightly from the 4,889 recorded for the week ending September 14. But daily totals haven't hit the 1,000 mark since late August; 518 were counted on September 19.

• Contradictions abound in hospitalization data. The total number of people hospitalized with COVID was 216 on September 21, versus 179 on September 14. But a separate stat counts actual COVID-19 patients for the week of September 20 at 145, a decrease from 159 a week earlier. Average daily hospitalizations for the virus hover between forty and fifty.

• Fatalities stats also displayed mixed results. The 23 deaths among cases on September 21 marked a decline from 38 on September 14. But deaths directly attributable to COVID-19 rose from 24 last week to thirty over that span.

• Although the state's seven-day-average positivity rate of 5.12 percent was close to the 5.14 percent reading on September 14, the 8.84 percent rate on September 21 was one of the highest daily numbers this month. Meanwhile, samples sequenced by the CDPHE revealed that Omicron 5 is the state's dominant subvariant, accounting for 90.31 percent of the infections studied, followed by variations on Omicron 4, Omicron 3 and Omicron 1.

The total of 27 new or tweaked outbreak listings shared by the CDPHE in its September 21 report represents a dip from the 36 cited the previous week. They're dominated by health-care facilities that specialize in senior care — among the handful of sites for which the department is publicly sharing outbreak information at this point. All but one of them has experienced one or more previous outbreaks.

Here are the new or tweaked outbreaks identified by the CDPHE on September 21, including information about categories, county of origin, and the date when the spread was officially recognized. The department no longer provides information about the overall number of infections or deaths and whether they pertain to residents, staff members or attendees.

1. Advanced Health Care of Aurora (02D982): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Arapahoe County, 9/7/2022
2. Arbor View Assisted Living (230413): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Jefferson County, 9/13./2022
3. BeeHive Homes at the Cortez Homestead (23Z827): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Montezuma County, 9/13/2022
4. Broadview Health and Rehabilitation Center (020321): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Weld County, 9/14/2022
5. Brookdale Greenwood Village Assisted Living (2304MV): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Arapahoe County, 9/20/2022
6. Cadence Lakewood (2304DC): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Jefferson County, 8/23/2022
7. Chelsea Place (23N217): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Arapahoe County, 9/13/2022
8. Crossroads at Delta Memory (23Z699): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Delta County, 9/16/2022
9. Denver County Jail: August 2022, Jail, Denver County, 8/25/2022
10. Duncan-Hart House (2305ZX), Healthcare, Assisted Living, El Paso County, 9/16/2022
11. Harmony Home — Jay Drive #1 (2301FP): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Logan County, 9/12/2022
12. Hildebrand Care Center (020666): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Fremont County, 9/16/2022
13. Lakewood Villa (020443): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Jefferson County, 9/20/2022
14. Monarch Manor (230472): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Denver County, 9/19/2022
15. North Pointe Gardens (23M203): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Pueblo County, 9/9/2022
16. Pelican Pointe Health & Rehabilitation Center (020332): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Weld County, 9/1/2022
17. Primrose School at Denver Central Park: June 2022, Child Care Center, Denver County, 6/9/2022
18. Pueblo Regional Center - House B (0506OR): August 2022, Healthcare, Intermediate Care, Pueblo County, 8/17/2022
19. Sandrock Ridge Care and Rehab (02H515): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Moffat County, 9/12/2022
20. Sierra Rehabilitation and Care Community (020423): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Jefferson County, 9/9/2022
21. Springs Ranch Memory Care Community (23Z839): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, El Paso County, 9/16/2022
22. Springs Village Care Center (020535): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, El Paso County, 9/16/2022
23. The Carillon at Belleview Station (23N139): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Denver County, 9/13/2022
24. The Gardens at Columbine (2304QP): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Arapahoe County, 9/12/2022
25. Victorian House Assisted Living (23048Y): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Douglas County, 9/19/2022
26. Villa Manor Care Center (020451): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Jefferson County, 9/14/2022
27. Wheat Ridge Regional Center — House R (06S730): August 2022, Healthcare, Intermediate Care, Jefferson County, 8/30/2022
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts